FBI asked to look at scholarship granted by Rep. Dan Burke

August 27, 2011
Chicago Sun-Times

BY DAVE MCKINNEY AND THE BETTER GOVERNMENT ASSOCIATION

SPRINGFIELD — The State Board of Education has forwarded records about a questionable legislative scholarship awarded by state Rep. Dan Burke to the FBI and the General Assembly’s ethics watchdog, an agency official said Friday.

The move came as a result of questions raised from a joint investigation last week by the Chicago Sun-Times and Better Government Association about a tuition waiver worth nearly $70,000 that Burke granted to the daughter of a former legislative secretary.

“There was a question raised about one of the students. I believe you raised the question about where they lived exactly and where they stated they lived. We saw that information, and we forwarded it to the General Assembly’s inspector general as well as the FBI,” state board spokesman Matt Vanover said.

Burke waived four years of college tuition at Southern Illinois University for Sarah Dowis between 2003 and 2008. Her mother is Burke’s one-time legislative secretary in Springfield, Judy Dowis, who worked for him for a six-year stint ending in early 2003.